TAKING THE GREAT BARRINGTON DECLARARTION SERIOUSLY – a thread.
1 or 2 MPs have advocated the ideas in the “Great Barrington Declaration”: that we should get back to normal, go for herd immunity, & try to shield the elderly & vulnerable. Rather than dismiss this out of hand I've tried to crunch some numbers on what it would mean in practice.
First, how many people would need to totally isolate as the virus accelerates through the rest of the population?
Quick thread on our "levelling up" report today & new Taskforce.
Most people know there's a big gap in earnings and incomes between London, the SE & Scotland on the one hand and the rest of the country on the other (map below). But lots turns on how you measure things... (1/15)
My report looks at how subtly different ways of measuring performance can tell VERY different stories about what's happening in different places. (2/15)
For example, if you look at the employment rate for 16-64 year olds, London is in the middle of the pack.
But look at 16+ employment, and London (in red) is zooming ahead - pension age employment is much higher there. (3/15)
Here's a strange thing. Certain types of spending, transport, R&D, housing, culture, are vital to boost productivity. Yet in Britain we spend more on these things in places where productivity is already high. @guymiscampbell and I have a report out exploring why. Thread ahoy!
First, transport. London is the big winner, followed by two other high-productivity places. Between 2007/8 and 2018/19 capital spending on transport in London was around £6,600 per head, nearly three (2.75) times the average in the rest of England (£2,400).
There are multiple reasons for this. Places with strong devolved governments (London &Scotland) have more capacity to bid. We spend a big chunk of the budget on rail, which is a big share of journeys in London, but v small elsewhere. London makes out like a bandit on rail spend:
Raising Higher Rate threshold benefits a bit over 4 million people.
Raising the starting rate for National Insurance would benefit 32 million people.
Cutting council tax benefits 27 million households.
We must focus on cutting the taxes people on average incomes pay.
The CPS, polled the idea of raising the national insurance threshold to £12,000 a year – and found that 76% approved.
In contrast, raising the top rate threshold polls badly. A Populus poll found that 58% of voters said they were against, and only 21% in favour.
Here's the argument of my new paper in graph form.
First, after 9 years of difficult decisions, debt is set to fall from 83 to 73% GDP. If we reduce it more slowly or even keep it flat, that unlocks up to £190 billion to cut tax or increase spending over the next 4 years (1/)
But we can't go crazy. We just had a big increase in debt. Britain is an ageing society. Financial repression doesn't cut debt 3-4% every year as in the postwar years. As OBR has pointed out, borrowing costs are more likely to go up than down. OBR debt projection looks scary (2/)
Hence the suggestion in the paper of an expert-led Commission on Sustainable Public Services, running over the next SR period. The solutions to our long term debt problems have been discussed for years, but haven't landed. 2017 election showed how not to do it. (3/)